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U.K. August Mortgage Approvals Rise to 15-Month High, BBA Says

U.K. mortgage approvals rose to their highest level in 15 months in August as property investors bolstered demand, the British Bankers’ Association said.

Lenders granted 35,226 loans to buy homes, up from a revised 33,734 in July, the London-based lobby group said in an e-mailed statement today. From a year earlier, mortgage approvals were up 14 percent.

While falling consumer confidence and the biggest squeeze on Britons’ spending power since the 1970s is undermining housing demand, prices are being supported by a lack of property supply and record low borrowing costs. The Bank of England kept its key interest rate at a record low this month and officials have said it was “increasingly probable” they may need to buy more bonds to bolster a faltering recovery.

“Banks’ new mortgage lending has ticked up in the past couple of months with higher buy-to-let demand,” David Dooks, director of statistics at the BBA, said in the report. Still, the “weak economic environment continues to undermine confidence in both household and business sectors.”

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